PC Control and integrated process communication with EtherCAT are the basis for extremely fast control and regulation technology. With their aid extremely precise process cycles can be achieved, so that firstly the packaging can be manufactured with less raw materials and secondly the specified quantities of the goods to be packed can be adhered to with greater accuracy. In sum this results in considerable cost savings and minimises the use of valuable resources and energy. All this can be seen at this year’s Interpack in the 200 sq. metre Beckhoff Solution Forum, which is located in the open-air area in front of exhibition hall 15 (FG 15-1). Major topics are the XTS drive system, the new multi-touch panel generation and compact drive technology as well as increased engineering efficiency with TwinCAT 3, and packaging machines in Industry 4.0 production scenarios.
XTS revolutionises machine design
The increasing demand for flexibility in the packaging sector can be met very innovatively with the eXtended Transport System (XTS). Combining linear and rotary drive principles, it enables completely new machine concepts, which are considerably more flexible, more compact and less expensive than conventional solutions. Thanks to an almost arbitrary route configuration and the freely moving carrier modules – the so-called movers – mechanical components like grippers, for example, can be dispensed with. Product changes or changes of lot size or filling quantities can be quickly and easily implemented through software modifications. Thus, the number of format changes or costly production downtimes can be minimised. Since both the outward and inward paths as well as the curves are used for active material transport, there are also no empty trips.
Since the movers can be controlled both individually and synchronised, extremely varied and flexible movement functions are possible with the XTS. Innovative features such as catching up travel, grouping and ungrouping, synchronous travel, cam plate function, and the highly precise interaction between the XTS and a robot will be demonstrated in the Beckhoff Solution Forum. With these unique functions the drive system opens up numerous areas of application in the packaging industry, for example the filling of bags, the sorting of product flows, the feeding of asynchronous product flows into downstream cyclic production sequences as well as intelligent and dynamic workpiece resp. product carriers or the inline assembly of packaging.
Integrated multi-touch for the entire machine
With a scalable range of active and passive panels, the multi-touch panel series from Beckhoff provides for a uniform appearance on the machine. Display sizes from 7 to 24 inches as well as versions with different connections and processor powers offer maximum variety and flexibility. In addition there are customer-specific extensions available, e.g. fingerprint, emergency stop button or an individual colour scheme. Among the new products being shown by Beckhoff at Interpack are the CP3915 and CP3918 multi-touch Panels, which are optimised for packaging machines and feature a stainless steel housing, IP 65 protection and a specially laminated display as a splinter guard.
The use of multi-touch Control Panels from the CP29xx and CP39xx series is particularly flexible and simple with CP-Link 4, the one cable solution for the connection between operating unit and PC: video signal, USB 2.0 and power supply are transmitted over a distance of up to 100 m via a standard CAT.6A cable. The user benefits not only from increased flexibility, but also from reduced cabling and installation costs.
Servo system for minimal mounting spaces
To the AM8000 servo motor series flange size F1 (40 mm edge length) has been added. The new AM801x and AM811x servo motors in three overall lengths cover a torque range of 0.22 to 0.55 Nm and offer a low rotor moment of inertia as well as a quadruple overload capacity, therefore meeting the highest requirements for motion dynamics in the smallest of installation spaces. The motors are optionally available with backlash-free permanent magnet holding brake or feather key groove. Equipped with an absolute encoder (or optionally a multi-turn absolute encoder) and One Cable Technology (OCT), the motors offer maximum motor performance in a compact size.
The two series differ among other things in their rated voltage. An extremely compact and economical servo solution can be assembled by combining the AM811x motors with the EL7201-0010 and EL7211-0010 servomotor terminals with 2.8 ARMS and up to 4.5 ARMS respectively at 50 V DC. The AX5000 EtherCAT servo drive (1/2 canal, up to 3 A) can be used for controlling the AM801x servomotors, which are designed for 230 V AC.
TwinCAT 3 for efficient engineering and maximum performance
TwinCAT combines all control and motion functions as well as the complete engineering tool chain on one software platform. With IEC 61131, C/C++ and MATLAB®/Simulink® an appropriate programming language is available for every task. Engineering is simplified by ready-made libraries such as dancer control, cam plates, printing mark control and sheeter as well as support for OMAC PackML. The engineering efficiency is further increased with TwinCAT Automation Interface, a user-friendly interface for automatic code generation, as well as numerous source code control tools available via Visual Studio®.
With consistent multi-core support, TwinCAT 3 taps new power reserves for the integration of additional machine functions. Using the “CPU Isolation” feature, the project engineer can thus specify which cores of a processor will run with TwinCAT real-time and which will remain explicitly available only for the Windows operating system.
The packaging machine in the Industry 4.0 concept
The packaging machines market, with its constantly changing specifications for packaging design and form, is predestined for the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts. The prerequisite for this, however, is machines in which all actuators and sensors are fully automated and above all enabled to communicate. With PC-based control and EtherCAT as well as matching drive technology, Beckhoff already enables universal vertical, horizontal and company-spanning integration today and thus offers the ideal platform for Industry 4.0 concepts in the packaging industry.